The Messiah in Isaiah (Part 4) (Isaiah 7)

Date: 12/19/2010
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Topic: virgin birth
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The Messiah in Isaiah (Part 4) (Isaiah 7)

As we continue to study Isaiah’s Messiah through Advent, we saw that God promised to bring restoration in Isaiah 35. “The wilderness and the desert will be glad” because in this new exodus “the redeemed will walk” and “the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion” (vv9-10). The fulness of this promise is like that in Revelation, “sorrow and sighing will flee away” (v10). “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). He will wipe away our tears as well.

The Setting of Immanuel - The historical context is important for understanding this well known passage. This a time when the North and South were opposed and had wars. The North was Israel under Pekah and South was Judah seated in Jerusalem under a new king, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, King Ahaz. He was only about 20 when he began to reign. Jerusalem is under the threat of the Northern Kingdom of Israel allied with Syria because Judah under the Davidic King, Ahaz, refused to band with them to fight Assyria. “Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel marched up to Jerusalem to do battle” (7:1). So Israel was about to besiege Jerusalem in order to overthrow him and his Davidic dynasty. Fear rather than faith was the result, “They and their people were emotionally shaken” (7:2). Just at this time, Isaiah goes to reassure Ahaz as he was out checking on the water reserves for the city of Jerusalem (probably worrying about holding out against such a siege) (7:3). Isaiah is to say, “Make sure you stay calm! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be intimidated” (7:4). The Word of hope that God gives to Ahaz, “It will not take place; it will not happen” (7:7). But faithfulness is called for on the part of Ahaz in about his third year of reigning. Therefore, “If your faith does not remain firm, then you will not remain secure” (7:9). Or a more literal sense is, “be firm and then you will be confirmed [as king].” He did not overcome in this case. The summary of Ahaz’s reign is “he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done” (2Kings 16:2). The Lord offered to give a confirmation (even miraculous sign) to him, but Ahaz rejected the Lord with pious words (7:12). Ahaz rejected trusting the Lord, while at the same time it is clear that he was maneuvering to ally Judah with Assyria (trusting men rather than God, 2Kgs 16:7).

Extended Play on Ahaz - Ahaz was a son of the promise to David, but his trust was not in David’s Lord. How was he related to David? If you did a search on ancestry.com what would you find? I mentioned that the First Methodist Preacher was Robert Allen Strawbridge in New Windsor MD and that I am his sixth great grandson, as it turns out Ahaz is Solomon’s sixth great grandson.

Matthew 1:6–10 - David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. 1:7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. 1:8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 1:9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 1:10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,

He asked to be a son of Assyria. “So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, ‘I am your servant and your son; come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me’” (2Kings 16:7). An important in passage in Chronicles about Ahaz shows his true character, “During his time of trouble King Ahaz was even more unfaithful to the LORD. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus whom he thought had defeated him” (2Chr 28:22). Ahaz’s character on this point is a great lesson. Rather than trust the God who is actually in control of these things or respond properly to these troubles by turning to the Lord, Ahaz tries to appease imaginary gods. What imaginary gods are you worshiping in order to improve your circumstances?

The Sign of Immanuel - This is the setting for the well known words of the next Immanuel prophecy in Is. 7. Given this, it is clear that the prophecy (7:10-16) is both a promise of deliverance and a threat of judgment to Judah. The Lord says I will give “you” Ahaz (plural, meaning the “House of David”) a sign anyway. “Immanuel” will come and the Davidic covenant will be fulfilled. The promise is fulfilled temporarily in that the line of David continued in Hezeki

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more